Addiction

How to Get Rid of Smoking

How to Get Rid of Smoking

There, 500 yards out, people are still watching you from the windows and giving you dirty looks, as though you’re contributing to global warming. To make matters even more appalling, those ciggies are now costing you $352 a carton. Isn’t it time you quit?

Sure, the rest of us are happy about you single-handedly paying enough state taxes on those smokes to support three state highway patrol cruisers and their occupants for a month. But, even so, we are concerned about your lungs… and your liver… and your pancreas… and your children… and everything and everyone else your smoking habit is damaging.

What’s that you’re saying? You would like to quit, but that old debble nicotine has got you in his clutches? You can’t go through nicotine withdrawal again? The memory of when you did that for five whole hours still gives you waking nightmares?

Please believe us when we say we understand. We began quitting 35 years ago. It took us 15 years to complete the process, and we had only a half-a-pack-a-day habit. We grit our teeth at the thought of a three-pack-a-day addict climbing down off the Big Camel for the last time. He’s got to feel like Ray Milland in “Lost Weekend” or Jack Lemon in “Days of Wine and Roses.”

Nicotine Addiction: You Never Outgrow Your Need for a Fix

Even after a couple of decades without the tobacco crutch, we still sometimes revere the memory of that after-dinner smoke, the one that tells you “this is the wrap-up for a beautiful repast.” Without that period at the end of an edible sentence, we kept on eating and eating and ballooned up many, many pounds, a common outcome of quitting. Tobacco, you see, is a very effective appetite suppressant.

But tobacco is also a killer, plain and simple. Not just the tobacco leaf itself, but the dozens of additives the manufacturers add to the stuff for various and sundry purposes, such as keeping it burning while you’re not sucking on it. You’ve heard the morbid statistics about smoking, but it never hurts to reemphasize them:

  • All of the annual deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents, firearms discharges, alcohol, drugs, AIDS, and homicide combined amount to only a third of the deaths caused by smoking tobacco (ref: Action on Smoking and Health).
  • One in five deaths in America, 400,000 annually, is attributable to smoking, according to the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Second-hand smoke causes heart problems and lies behind at least 3,000 deaths annually.

Combine that figure on second-hand smoke with the fact that smoking makes you smell like an ashtray and gives you breath that smells like a dying squid, and you might see why your co-workers want you to get as far away as possible, maybe to the next company down the street. We can’t figure why your wife and kids tolerate you, unless they’re smokers, too.

Get Rid of Smoking Reminders: Ash Tray, Bye Bye

If you’ve got the desire to quit, you want to know how to do it; otherwise, why are you reading this? Any program to stop smoking must be tailored to individual needs and will require you to do some independent research on your own. For instance, for some people, hypnotism works, while for others, it’s acupuncture; for still others, neither. Some think the electric shock treatments of aversion therapy are the cat’s pajamas; others think it’s sheer craziness. Some want to taper off, others would rather quit cold turkey. But there are some general principles everyone should follow:

  • Go into your program in the full knowledge that this is not going to be easy. Nicotine is the most addictive drug on the planet, period!
  • Before Day 1, get rid of all ash trays and destroy any cigarettes you have left. You need no temptations, no reminders of what was.
  • Get your mind in the proper frame to hang with the program, great though the temptations may be to fall off the wagon and return back to the good old days of all those yummy carcinogenic tars and nicotine. Whenever you think of how good you would feel after a cigarette, also think how kissable you’ll be when you’re permanently off the habit. Whenever you think how nervous and irritable you are without a cigarette, also think that it was the damnable cigarettes that caused this problem. Whenever your quitting presents you with a success, say, visiting friends without having to run outside every ten minutes to light up, celebrate. Congratulate yourself and maybe even give yourself a present (as long as it isn’t a libation or coffee, which only encourage smoking). Your thinking must be “cigarettes – bad stuff, negative outcomes; smoke-free – a longer, happier life and no more burn holes in the furniture.” Reaffirm often, “I am a non-smoker.” You are re-defining yourself.
  • Take a clean sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left, list all the things you like about smoking. On the right, list all the things you don’t like about smoking. (Don’t forget to include your yellow skin, teeth, and fingers on the right, unless you like those things.) If you can’t think of a lot more reasons to quit than the reasons you like smoking, you may not be ready yet. But if that right side outweighs the left by a good margin, which it should, keep it handy to glance at whenever you’re wavering in your commitment.

Aids to Quit Smoking: Form the Chewing Gum Habit

  • Use some aids. We went through three tries at quitting before we hit on nicotine chewing gum. It worked! The patch may accomplish the same thing – satisfying the craving for nicotine while breaking us of the smoking ritual. Be sure to consult your doctor first, though. We gradually tapered off the nicotine gum
    by combining it with regular chewing gum at first, then simply chewing gum every time we had the desire to light up.
  • Get some support. Call the American Cancer Society to get a list of cessation programs in your area. Check out Nicotine Anonymous for their 12-step program. Tell friends you’re quitting and ask for their support, including a plea that they not smoke in your presence (you may even have to consider reducing contact with your smoking friends for a while). Look into the many forums on the Web for people who are also quitting. If you want to talk to a counselor, call 1-800-QUIT NOW or the National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U QUIT.
  • The Foundation for a Smokefree America has several tips for people becoming smoke-free. They recommend that every time you feel the need for a smoke you take the deepest breath possible, let it out very, very slowly, close your eyes, and visualize tension flowing out of your body from a dozen points, like water. Do it again until you are relaxed.

Become a Water Fanatic

  • Increase your water intake. It takes 60 days to flush the tobacco toxins out of your system.
  • Exercise more.
  • If you need an oral substitute for a cigarette, use a candy cane or suck on a cinnamon stick. Just don’t try to light the other end.
  • Resist the urge for “just one cigarette.” Know that “just one” will lead to two, then three, then the complete collapse of your program.

Do not be surprised at any time after you think you’ve successfully quit the habit to be hit with a sudden desire to smoke. If you can resist for five minutes, the desire will go away. These periods usually come as a reaction to stress. Remember, cigarettes used to be your friend when things got tough. Never again use tobacco as a crutch. It’s not your friend. Use your family and friends for support in times of need. If you are religious, use prayer. Use meditation. But just get past those five minutes and live a longer and happier life. Your grandchildren will appreciate it.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of smoking.

About the author

Nicole Harding

16 Comments

  • Drink lots of water, at least four pints a day – it blasts the toxins left over in your body a lot faster, and lessens the withdrawal symptoms. Take up a new hobby, and maybe suck on a mint after dinner or during times when you’re more likely to smoke (try not to rot your teeth in the process, mind!)

  • If you have not had a cigarette in a while and those withdraws are getting the best of you, just remember how horrible you felt all day without that cigarette. Did you really go through all that iritation and nerve racking resistance for nothing? It’s like finally wining the lotto and never going to claim your money.

  • Try emptying a load of cigarette butts into a glass jar of water, and sniff it when you have a craving. Ugh – it stopped me!

  • Very Inexpensive Aid – Adults only: Take 500 mg of OTC magnesium for at least a month before you go cold turkey. It will cut the physical withdrawal effects by nearly 100%. You’ll still need some will power, but hardly any, in comparison. Continue to take magnesium. It provides many great benefits. Look it up on the Web.

  • I;m 2 weeks into this cold turkey and all I can is out of sight out of mind. When I get a craving I think of something else or occupy myself with something like a puzzle. It’s helping!! oh and drinking water.

  • I’m using Cnantix…expensive but works wonderfully!!!! I like it because unlike patches and lozenges I’m not tradijng one form of nicotine for another. I feel good that I quit semi-cold turkey!!

  • I’m only a week into it. I have urges every 20 minutes it seems to have a cigarette. It’s the worst thing I could have ever imagined. But when I’m just about to teeter over the edge, I remind myself of all the agony of withdrawls I’ve surpassed and so far overcome, and then I’m able to go on. And I too have been drinking lot’s of water!

  • Its been 7 weeks for me, cold turkey. Its certainly not easy, but if you can make it past the first two weeks then you are in it to win it. That’s not to say that I don’t crave it every now and again, but there are days now when I don’t even think about having a cigarette and for a smoker of 20 years that’s saying a lot!

    Good luck to everyone and God bless.

  • well my friends came up with this fool proof method of if you have a friend that wants to quit all you have to do is eveytime he (jus for men) gets out a cigg to smoke or talks about wanting one you kick him in the balls…….and it works trust mee! lol

  • I quit smoking using cold turkey method. I’d smoked for 23 years and for the last 3 of those years, I was smoking 3 to 3-1/2 pks/day, wow! I was still young and healthy but started to become fearful of what could happen and wanted to quit. Had 2 prior unsuccessful quitting attempts in the years prior, but this time I wanted to quit more than ever.

    For me, it was only difficult the first 3 weeks, then it grew easier. To satisfy my cravings of having the drag after a meal, etc., I cut a straw to length of my long cigs and filled it with twisted napkin or pape towel strip — not too full, but loose enough just to let some air go through as I mimicked inhaling my fake cig.

    This actually eased my nerves for a few weeks and by the 3rd or 4th week, I no longer needed that as a ‘crutch’. Now, that might not work for everyone, but it helped me. Actually, the only pleasure it gave was that I could go through my withdrawal still holding and “inhaling” something. Kind of a pacifier drag, I guess. It wasn’t what actually made me quit, but was just something to help ease me through when I felt a strong urge to at least hold one and go through the motions.

    The fake inhaling seemed to sooth my nerves enough that I never had to do it for more than a few minutes at a time and only for a few weeks before I got sick of ‘inhaling’ nothing. My total strategy to quitting was that I *really wanted to*! Therefore, I was determined. I started walking long distances with ice water in tow and no cash to stop and purchase any cigs. But first, I literally tossed out the entire carton of cigs that I’d had left, and even broke them all in half – which was liberating.

    A week into my quitting and after some “bad news”, I’d become so desperate for a smoke that I lit one. I could feel the rush and I wanted it, but I didn’t. I thought to my self that if I smoked it, I might never quit; but if I put it out (I’d only taken 2 puffs), then it could be as if I’d never lit up, because I conquered that drag instead of it, me.

    And that I did. It’s been 17 years now and I’ve never so much as had a puff since then…and…I’m healthy!

    P.S. I’m fifty-something.

  • i am a chain smoker . i am trying hard and soul to overcome this. i know smoking is the mother of all types to drug addiction.

    with thanks

  • Today is day 12, I am thankful. This is my second time around. I quit for eight years thought I would try one and ten years later I am quitting again. I never smoked after eating, mainly smoked in my vehicle or in the house when my boyfriend wasn’t around. I was an undercover smoker when I started back the second time I hid it profusely!!! I hated smoking, I hated letting my family down and being a hipocrite so I really didn’t get pleasure from it. I prayed and told God I knew he didn’t want me to smoke and I didn’t want to smoke so help me, well my bronchitis flared up as it does once a year but this time it was worse, I was gasping for air and spitting mucus, one night while asleep I awaken and I was gasping trying to breathe. The next couple days I smoked only one cigarette a day (still trying) but after I finished the LAST one I Quit!! I really don’t have withdrawals, cravings maybe twice a day but I drink water and work out and I’m fine and everyday I thank God for making me realize it was time to let it go, (for good this time). I feel better, more energy, and happy to have been given a second chance!!!

  • Try chantix!it is the magic pill. gotta eat before taking it tho. also ery vivid dreams. just keep smoking and dont stop the chantix and you will just gradually quit. everyone i know that quit last couple of years has used it. 100.00 well spent believe me

  • See, I go and tell myself im quitting cold turkey and it dosent work….i’ve been told that cold turkey is bullshit…for some it works but for others you need will power and occupation! When my mother quit smoking she gained a lot of weight cuz she started eating wich isint good for you! So i tried finding a good healthy way of quitting! Step#1 you do not touch any m0ney because you will want to buy a pack of smokes! Step#2 get line pages and write letters to yourself saying how much smokes you had that day…how bad your cravvings were and also how many times you ressisted a smoke! Step#3 Evry time you crave a smoke go draw a cigarette on the daily letter…at the end of the day you will see how much you did smoke and how much you wanted to smoke! Step #4 STOP SMOKING!!!!!!!!!!!

  • There is hope for all smokers to become non-smokers! After smoking for over 50 years I finally quit. It has been two years and I still can’t believe it sometimes. I had tried several times with no success and then two of my doctors suggested to “just give Chantix a try”. I have to say that the withdrawal was not nearly as bad as the other times that I tried to quit, no bad dreams and I didn’t need to refill the prescription! If you really want to quit, “give Chantix a try”.

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